PAHOA, Hawaii – The Pahoa community center was packed with concerned residents and local business owners for an emergency meeting on Monday evening, in the wake of a large fire that gutted a large section of the village.
Puna’s district 4 councilwoman Eileen O’Hara organized the meeting that included district 5 councilwoman Jen Ruggles, county prosecutor Mitch Roth, and Mainstreet Pahoa president Matt Purvis.
At midnight on January 16, the popular landmarks of Luquin’s Restaurant and Akebono Theater were destroyed by a fire. The investigation into the cause of the fire continues, but many in the community place the blame with squatters and the culture of drug use that plagues parts of the village.
The meeting discussed funding options for Pahoa’s recovery, beautification efforts, and the most contentions subject – dealing with the houseless and hard drug / alchol abuse in town.